Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Without experience you just can't know!

I have stated many times before that an atheist who has never experienced religion could never imagine the effects of deep indoctrination on the lives and minds of fundamentalist believers. When I speak of fundamentalists I am speaking of those on the furthest extreme of religious belief and commitment. Those are the ones who live their entire lives based on faith and believe as they do based on their personal experiences with the divine.

I myself was one of the most extreme Pentecostal believers when I was an evangelist and in retrospect although I read and studied my bible often my mind was led entirely by confirmation bias. I read only books that confirmed my beliefs or preconceptions about those beliefs. I never came to faith by way of reason or logical deduction.

This is what many of our more prominent atheists who dedicate themselves to debating theists do not seem to get. Most extremist believers did not come to those beliefs through logical reasoning and so as a result they cannot be reasoned out of those beliefs. As a theists whenever I was approached by non-believers about my beliefs and was presented evidence against my beliefs I chalked it up to various inane reasons. Either those who did not believe had their minds clouded by their desires of the flesh to sin, they were being deliberately blinded by Satan, they could not see the truth because they were of such a corrupt worldly nature, or they were being used by Satan to lead me astray. I often quoted biblical verses that extolled the virtues of faith and condemned the knowledge of man.

8“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
9“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8-9

See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ. Colossians 2:8

Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?  1 Corinthians 1:20

I compare the experience of the charismatic believer and the so called gifts of the Spirit and their manifestations versus the atheist who has not had these experiences to those of a trained soldier who has not seen combat and a combat hardened veteran. An atheist who has never experienced these things cannot possibly comprehend why believers take such experiences as evidence of their beliefs and the existence of the god of their choice.  Like a veteran who has never seen war we can talk about the horrors of war all day, but until you have been on the battle field watching your friends head explode or his guts spilled before your eyes you cannot possibly comprehend the deep psychological effect that those experiences can have on a person. 

It took me literally six years to get over my religious indoctrination. It wasn't the arguments made by atheists that convinced me of the falsity of my former beliefs it was the many inconsistencies of the scriptures themselves versus what I was experiencing and seeing in the churches that led me to question and seek a better truth. I never dreamed in a million years that the search for the truth would lead me to atheism. But that is what an honest truth seeker does. They follow the evidence to where it leads no matter what the conclusions. 

Note: All scripture cited in this post are taken from the New Internation Version of the bible. 

Monday, November 28, 2016

On death and atheism

On Saturday November 19th 2016 my older brother Alvin Colon was fatally struck by a car while riding his bike in Bristol, CT. he was 49 years old. The local newspaper stated that he was struck as he attempted to cross lanes by a 75 yr. old man who thankfully was not injured in the incident.

The accident took place around 5:20 or 5:30 p.m. and my brother was said to have died instantly. As an atheist I did not ask ridiculous questions nor turn to the invisible man in the sky for comfort. I needed no such help from an imaginary being whose existence I do not except due to the fact that like big foot evidence for his existence is ever more unconvincing and elusive. I did not find comfort from the many platitudes offered to me by my family and well meaning friends. I found comfort in myself and in my own experiences with my brother.

As an atheist I never say such idiotic things like "may he rest in peace" for he is not resting. I am convinced and have studied enough biology to know that once his brain ceased to function his consciousness his very being ceased to exist. I do not believe in Heaven nor Hell as taught and believed by many Christian groups. Nor do I believe in eternal reward or damnation. I simply believe that we have one life to live and we are to make the most of it while we can. Enjoy it to the fullest have goals and work hard to achieve them. Try to have the most positive experience out of life and be always aware that it can end at any moment without warning.

Today on November 28 of 2016 my brothers wake took place and he was later cremated. I did not attend the wake because I have a rule since as long as I can remember that I do not attend funerals for no one for any reason. I prefer to grieve alone remembering the person as he/she was when they spent time with me. I don't care to see photographs of them in a hospital bed dying or in a coffin during a funeral. Some can turn this into a positive experience and are reminded about human frailty etc. But I prefer to remember my positive experiences with the person.

My mother was told by my sister that my brother had been attending church and that he was with the Lord. She found comfort in that and it helped ease her pain and suffering which she quickly informed me and those that accompanied me as we initially broke the news of my brothers untimely death. Although I was annoyed with this initially, I remember saying to myself:" hey it's bullshit, but if it helps her than so be it." Some people need these fantasies to bring hope not for this world but for the so called "after life" where they believe that they will be reunited with those they have lost on this earth.

I live in the here and now and take comfort in that my brothers life struggles and sufferings in this life have finally ended. He has run his race and his life choices for better or for worse will no longer affect him. He is not resting, his "soul" is not in purgatory, or awaiting the final trumpet of resurrection, nor is it suffering in an imaginary hell; but rather he has simply ceased to exist. His body was cremated and his consciousness upon the death of his brain was no more. I read in a book that consciousness is what the brain does. In other words it's the results of the many biochemical functions of the brain. Once you understand and realize this truth you have no reason to suffer for the loss of your loved ones. We appreciate the time they spent with us and accept that they are no more. 

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

You should read the Bible

Today at work I came across an employee who engaged me in conversation regarding a book I happened to be reading at the time. The title of the book is The Closing of the Western Mind:The Rise of Faith and the Fall of Reason by Charles Freeman which is an historical account on how under the Roman Empire beginning with the Emperor Constantine, Christian doctrine and orthodoxy arose. It's an excellent book by the way and I highly recommend it to anyone interested in the beginning of the dark ages and how they came about.

As soon as I finished describing the book to him he said to me in the most arrogant and pious manner possible that I should read the Bible if I wanted to obtain true enlightenment. Pffft!! I waved my hand at him dismissively and replied that that was a complete waste of time to which he told me  I should never say that about the word of God! I told him I read it four times but he had already turned his back on me and began to walk away. It took a moment, but then and there I realized that this man had to be a Pentecostal and not just any Pentecostal, but an Hispanic Pentecostal.

Let me explain why in my experience and opinion I have come to believe that the Hispanic Pentecostal church is different from its anglosaxon counterpart. I was a former Pentecostal evangelist and upon reflection considered myself to be one of the most fundamentalist extremist of my day. Our church taught us that women should not wear jewelry, provocative clothing, pants, make up, short skirts or revealing blouses because the Devil would use them to tempt the male members of the church into adultery or fornication. Men were to take their place as head of the household as taught in the Bible and women were to subject themselves to him not as an equal partner but as an help meet unto him as described in the scriptures.

Everything that ever happened to us in life was either God's will, him testing us, or Satan and his minions tempting us or trying to draw us away from "the truth." Reading literature outside of the Bible and what was taught in the church was frowned upon and would most likely get you admonished. In our church you only needed the Bible, the Holy Spirit, the Pastor and any books he may recommend to help you study your Bible more effectively.

When it comes to theists of this sort the one thing I find most annoying about them is their arrogance and hypocrisy. When you tell them that you have read the Bible in its entirety they either reply that you read it without faith or the guidance of God's spirit therefore you did not understand it. Or you don't understand the spiritual things of the Lord because you don't have faith. The hypocrisy comes into play when you realize that many of these theists have never read the Bible in its entirety and if they have they have done so with the blinders of faith on. If they come across something they don't comprehend or that leads them to ask questions they ask God to somehow reveal it to them!

Theists see themselves as saved by God's grace and in turn enlightened because of it. Everyone else is just another lost soul in need of saving. If that is not arrogance then I don't know what arrogance is.

arrogance: an insulting way of thinking or behaving that comes from believing that you are better, smarter, or more important than other people :  an attitude of superiority manifested in an overbearing manner or in presumptuous claims or assumptions

But it's not entirely their fault! The Bible actually teaches this in both the O.T. and the N.T. 

First: all knowledge comes from God
 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction. Proverbs 1:7

indeed, if you call out for insight
and cry aloud for understanding, ... Proverbs 2:3
then you will understand the fear of the Lord
and find the knowledge of God.
For the Lord gives wisdom;
from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. Proverbs 2:5-6

Without the presupposition that God exists and that he is the giver of wisdom you can never comprehend his ways. 

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD. Isaiah 55:8

So as you can see faith is a prerequisite in order to approach God knowing without evidence that he exists and that he hears the pleas of those that seek him. 

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. Hebrews 11:6

The rest of us are foolish and wicked for not accepting a belief in God without evidence. In fact, the knowledge of man as theists refer to it is condemned in the scriptures. 

Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 1 Corinthians 1:20

So Christian theology is nothing more than a vicious circle of irrational thinking called the fallacy of circular reasoning

A veritable catch 22 for us nonbelievers! If you don't accept beforehand that God exists then you can't know him and he can't reveal himself to you. It's all part of the indoctrination found in the scriptures and taught by the church. The fact of the matter is that most anyone who reads the Bible critically tend to come out of that experience if they are honest with themselves as either agnostic or an atheist. Many prominent atheist were formerly believers who were pastors, priests, ministers, etc. and in search of ways to prove their faith ended up becoming atheist instead. No devil required just analytical study of the scriptures and the end results are usually the breaking of the chains of superstition and superstitious beliefs in ancient myths. So Christians please do read the Bible from cover to cover but do so analytically and put your fear of the Lord to one side. You might be surprised at how idiotic some of your beliefs are. Atheists and agnostics should read the Bible in order to show theists how childish, irrational, and idiotic their beliefs are.

Note: All scripture quotations are taken from the New International Version of the scriptures.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Happy hypocrite day! !

: a person who claims or pretends to have certain beliefs about what is right but who behaves in a way that disagrees with those beliefs
 :  a person who puts on a false appearance of virtue or religion
 :  a person who acts in contradiction to his or her stated beliefs or feelings

Today is the day that many of those calling themselves Christians, believers, or followers of Christ break out the finest clothes, suits, and desses to celebrate Christianity's greatest miracle and foundational belief. The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead! 

Some of these so called believers are more dedicated to their beliefs than others. They are members of an established and recognized Christian church and community, they attend services several times a week, they dedicate their time and money in the form of voluntary offerings and tithes to their churches. Then there are the others who live as if God does not exist yet proclaim that he does and aver that he walks with them and is watching over them. I have found that both of these types of believers are nothing more than hypocrites as the word is defined above. The more dedicated one is to those beliefs the more hypocritical they are in life. 

For instance all believers are cherry pickers. What I mean by that is that theists pick and choose from the scriptures those rules for living that are agreeable to them and those that are not they willingly ignore them. The biggest and most blatant transgressors of this are the gay community. I personally as an atheist and believer in personal freedom do not have anything bad to say against gays. In fact, I support their desire to be recognized by others as a viable alternative lifestyle endowed with all the rights and privileges of every other citizen of this country and even the world. 

But the bible clearly states that God does not view the gay lifestyle as a good thing but rather as a sin. 

"'Do not have sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman; that is detestable.
Leviticus 18:22

"'If a man has sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They are to be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.
Leviticus 20:13

26Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. 27In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.
28Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done.
Romans 1:26-28

26Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. 27In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.
28Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done.
1 Timothy 1:26-28

I've used gays as an example because in my eyes their profession of faith is one of the most blatant contradictions amongst the many others. But this applies to all so called believers. In today's world we have people professing to be believers of God and claiming that they  are Christians whose lifestyles and  public life are a clear contradiction to what they claim to believe.

Many drug dealers, prostitutes, gang members, murderers, etc. all claim to be Christian. They pray and rationalize their lifestyles with the mercies of God. I've heard some say that "God knows I have to do what I have to do to live!" Because of God's great mercy in the end he will forgive them for their sinful lifestyle in the end and understand that they did it because they had no other choice in life! These same people wear crosses around their necks and prance around making a mockery of what they profess to believe. Most of them have never read the bible and even if shown the error of their ways they refuse to accept it and continue in their hypocrisy.

The worst of the lot are the more extreme believers on the spectrum of belief: the fundamentalist! This one is trying to live according to his/her interpretation of God's word, but not without first cherry picking out of the texts those things that they agree with . While those things that may condemn their lifestyles are completely ignored. This is for you Christians who judge the world and its inhabitants but are too blind to see your own faults.

"Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.
Luke 6:37

If anything, the bible demonstrates clearly that those who choose to follow its precepts are nothing more than hypocrites! It is my opinion that the majority of those professing to be Christians publicly make fools of themselves by living one way and speaking another. 

3We know that we have come to know him if we keep his commands. 4Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person.
1 John 2:3-4

 14What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them?
  24You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone.
James 2:14,24

Many believe is sufficient but let's be honest if you are going to proclaim faith in God and in his word the least you could do is read it and try to live your life according to its instruction. Good luck with that! I will continue to live my life as a non-believer and a happy atheist. I don't worry about fictional hells or torments after death. I live in the here and now and enjoy every minute of it. For better or for worse I try to make the most of what I believe to be the one and only life that we have. While you believers continue to waste your life trying to please a fictional being who if we take the scriptures at their word is nothing more than a celestial tyrant that does not deserve worship but rather disdain.

Happy hypocrite day everyone!! 

Friday, March 18, 2016

On losing my faith

For those of you that are not familiar with myself and my blog I invite you to read my deconversion story to better familiarize yourself with my journey from faith to atheism. I for one am content to let theists live and believe as they please for the most part. The only time I have a problem with them is when they try to literally shove their beliefs down my throat through political manipulation and trying to seek legislation on things that affect my life on a personal level. Some examples are the banning of stem cell research, abortion, euthanasia, trying to get creationism taught in our public schools and many other similar issues. For the most part they are not motivated by so called morals but rather by divine commandment. The bible says its wrong for them so then it should be wrong for everyone else.

That being said let's move on to the subject of this post. I often find that talking to theists in general is like talking to a wall. No amount of evidence will suffice, no reason or logic will ever penetrate faith on its own. I remember when I was a believer that there was no way any man would have convinced me of the falsity of my beliefs or even worse that I was deluded in believing the things I did. My faith preceded everything including logic and reason.

When I was a believer I thought that faith was greater than "evidence" in fact, I thought that the fact that I felt the presence of God in the form of his Holy Spirit trumped anything any man could ever show or tell me. I viewed attacks on my faith and beliefs as either directed or inspired by Satan and his cohorts. I thought that the more people attacked my faith the closer I was to my God and the truth and that all of those attacks were nothing more than the Devil trying to derail my spiritual growth

It took a personal experience that got me to begin doubting my faith. I had been invited to a local hospital to pray for a young man who was enduring the final stages of the aids virus and its effects. He was literally knocking on deaths door. My ministry partner had him read Isaiah 53: 5 aloud from the King James bible and after praying for him declared him healed in the name of Jesus! He promised the mans mom that her son was going to undergo a miraculous recovery if she believed it and claimed the miracle in faith. I heard my own voice in my head say "he is not healed." I felt fear at that moment and asked God in my mind if it was him or the enemy telling me this. To make a long story short that young man died a few days later.

At the time I went to visit that young man his mother was not present. I had never met her before but my partner had and he was the one who had the invite to go pray for him. A day or two after that I was invited to a woman's home with a church elder to pray for her since she was elderly and ill. In the middle of the prayer I stopped and told her that her son was going to die and gave her the reason. I believed this was a word from the Lord coming through my mind to her so I was not aware of who her son was. I just felt the need to say what I did. I told her not to blame God but that it was part of his plan to save his soul. After the young man died the church elder ran into me at another church event and ran up to me and said that I was a true prophet of the Lord because exactly what I told that person would happen happened.

Despite all the events that followed that day when we prayed for that young man. I had the first seed of doubt planted in my mind. I began to analyze my faith and beliefs more closely. I read the Bible four times and each time I read it I doubted it more. It took a very long and personal journey and the willingness on my part to embark on that journey no matter where it led for me to abandon my faith. I had to analyze my personal spiritual experience with a critical eye as well. In the end all of my studying and honest reflection led me ultimately to atheism. I did not come to that decision easily. It took me about 6 years to get over all of the effects of my religious beliefs and it was a long and emotionally, mental, and physically draining process.